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|5 Jan. 1559||SIR HENRY PAGET|
|1562/3||SIR HENRY PAGET 1|
|24 Apr. 1572||EDWARD FITZGERALD|
|19 Nov. 1584||RICHARD BROWNE II|
|22 Sept. 1586||RICHARD BROUGHTON|
|17 Oct. 1588||RICHARD BROUGHTON|
|RICHARD HUDDLESTON 2|
|1593||SIR JOHN WINGFIELD|
|6 Oct. 1597||JOSEPH OLDSWORTH|
|1 Oct. 1601||ANTHONY DYOTT|
In 1547 Lichfield began once more to send burgesses to Parliament, as it had done on a few occasions in earlier times. The city was incorporated in the following year and in 1553 was granted the status of a county. The corporation leased the lordship and manor of Lichfield from the bishop, in whom remained the right to approve the city’s choice of its two bailiffs, who governed in conjunction with 24 assistants, a recorder and a steward. There was no high steward—he would have too plainly encroached upon the bishop’s position—but in the next century the rôle of high steward was effectively taken over by the recorder: the step was an easy one because the office of steward had long duplicated that of recorder.
The senior Member for Lichfield in the Parliament of 1559, and in that of 1563 until he succeeded to his father’s peerage, was Sir Henry Paget, son of William Paget†, 1st Lord Paget, whose seat at Beaudesert was close to the town. Paget succeeded to his father’s peerage in June 1563, but there is no record of a by-election to replace him for the 1566 session. It was probably at the next election in 1571 that the influence of the Earl of Leicester was first experienced at Lichfield, as at nearby Tamworth. Edward Fitzgerald, returned as senior Member in 1571 and 1572, was a courtier who must have been well known to Leicester. Richard Browne II, senior Member in 1584, was the Earl’s servant. In 1586, Leicester was in the Netherlands, and his patronage passed to his stepson, the 2nd Earl of Essex, the leading nobleman in Staffordshire. Richard Broughton (1586, 1589, 1593), was steward of Lichfield, but also Essex’s own legal adviser. In fact Broughton was, from 1584 to 1598 recorder of Tamworth, where he might more properly have obtained a seat, but where at any rate in 1584 he was elbowed out by the competition of two rival patrons, Essex and Leicester.
Several of the junior Members for Lichfield in the first two-thirds of the reign were probably nominees of the bishop. Robert Weston (1559) was a local man who became a civil lawyer and chancellor of Lichfield diocese; and his brother James (1584) was successively bailiff of the city, registrar of the diocese and then chancellor. Arthur Bedell (1572) has also been identified as a civil lawyer and a former or present chancellor. Michael Pulteney (1563) is an obscure figure, whose connexion with Lichfield is not clear. William Timperley (1571) was a common lawyer from Norfolk, who may have worked for the bishop. On the other hand, John Goodman (1586) was a servant of the Earl of Warwick, the Earl of Leicester’s brother: Warwick, as well as Essex, may have inherited some of Leicester’s patronage. Richard Huddleston (1589) was a local man, but he had served Leicester, and therefore possibly enjoyed the patronage of Essex or Warwick. Huddleston died on 1 Mar. 1589, four weeks before the end of the Parliament, but no evidence has been found of any by-election. Whether or not Essex and his kinsmen extended their influence to both seats in 1586 and 1589, the young Earl certainly had both nominations in 1593 and again in 1597: Sir John Wingfield, Richard Broughton, Joseph Oldsworth and William Fowkes were the Members. In return for a promise of the lease of the manor of Lichfield, Essex in 1598 obtained for the citizens a more advantageous arrangement with the bishop. The city had not fulfilled its undertaking to make over the lease to the Earl, when he was executed early in 1601. The 1601 Members were Anthony Dyott, a lawyer from a good local family, and Robert Browne, who owed his return to Sir Robert Cecil. Through the intervention of the Privy Council, the 3rd Earl of Essex obtained the lease of the manor early in James’s reign, and later became recorder of Lichfield.
Weinbaum, Charters, 105; CPR, 1547-8, p. 386; T. Harwood, Hist. Lichfield, 335-6, 338-40, 345, 438; Vis. Staffs. 1583 (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. iii), 28.